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EOSC433: EOSC433 : Geotechnical Engineering Practice & Design

Supplementary Notes: Wedge Volume Calculation

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Erik Eberhardt UBC Geological Engineering

EOSC 433 (2012)

Kinematic Analysis Underground Wedges


The minimum requirement to define a potential wedge is four non-parallel planes; the excavation periphery forms one of these planes. On a hemispherical projection, these blocks may be identified as spherical triangles where the plane of projection represents the excavation surface. If a tetrahedral block/wedge exists, there are three kinematic possibilities to be examined: the block falls from the roof; the block slides (either along the line of maximum dip of a discontinuity, or along the line of intersection of two discontinuities); or the block is stable.
2 of 20 Erik Eberhardt UBC Geological Engineering

EOSC 433 (2012)

Hudson & Harrison (1997)

Analysis of Kinematic Admissibility - Falling


Falling occurs when a block detaches from the roof of an excavation without sliding on any of the bounding discontinuity planes. In the case of gravitational loading, the direction of movement is vertically downwards. This is represented on the projection as a line with a dip of 90, i.e. the centre of the projection. Thus, if this point falls within the spherical triangle formed by the bounding discontinuities, falling is kinematically admissible.

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Erik Eberhardt UBC Geological Engineering

EOSC 433 (2012)

Analysis of Kinematic Admissibility - Sliding


Kinematic methods used to analyze blocks sliding from the roof, either on one discontinuity plane (planar failure) or on a line of intersection (wedge failure), generally consider the spherical triangle and whether any part of it has a dip greater than the angle of friction. friction Assuming that each discontinuity plane has the same friction angle, the sliding direction will occur along a line of maximum dip (either that of a plane or a line of intersection of two planes). No other part of the spherical triangle represents a line of steeper dip than these candidates.
4 of 20 Erik Eberhardt UBC Geological Engineering EOSC 433 (2012)

Hudson & Harrison (1997)

Analysis of Kinematic Admissibility - Sliding


However, not all lines of maximum dip on a stereonet projection will be candidates for the sliding direction. Although some planes/lines of intersection may be dipping at angles greater than the friction angle, sliding is not kinematically admissible if the line

of maximum dip is outside the spherical triangle formed by the intersecting planes (i.e. the wedge).

Hudson & Harrison (1997)

The spherical triangle, therefore, represents the region of kinematically admissible d i ibl directions di i of f movement and any other direction represents directions directed into the rock surrounding the block.

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Erik Eberhardt UBC Geological Engineering

EOSC 433 (2012)

Analysis of Kinematic Admissibility - Sliding

hence, the shaded blocks above represent (a) planar sliding along 2; and (b) wedge sliding along 31. of course, if the spherical triangles fall completely outside the friction circle, then the blocks are identified as being stable.
6 of 20 Erik Eberhardt UBC Geological Engineering EOSC 433 (2012)

Geometrical Analysis of Maximum Wedge Volume


Once a series of joint sets have been identified as having wedge forming potential, several questions arise :
in the case of a falling wedge, how much support will be required to hold it in place (what kind of loads on the added support can be expected, how dense will the bolting pattern have to be, etc.); in the case of a sliding wedge, do the shear stresses exceed the shear strength along the sliding surface, i.e. that provided by friction and sometimes cohesion (in the form of intact rock bridges or mineralized infilling), and if so, how much support will be required to stabilize the block, how dense will the bolting pattern have to be, etc..

In both cases, the volume/weight of the maximum wedge that may form is required. This can be determined through further geometrical constructions.
7 of 20 Erik Eberhardt UBC Geological Engineering EOSC 433 (2012)

Geometrical Analysis of Maximum Wedge Volume


To calculate the maximum wedge volume:
1) Identify the joint planes/great circles

on the stereonet plot that form the wedge. In this example, the three persistent, planar discontinuity sets have dip directions/dips of: (1) 138/51, (2) 355/40, (3) 219/67. Together, these joints are known to form wedges within the horizontal, planar roof of an excavation in sedimentary rock. The stereonet construction is finished by drawing lines passing through the corners of the spherical triangle and centre of the stereonet.

Priest (1985)

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Erik Eberhardt UBC Geological Engineering

EOSC 433 (2012)

Maximum Wedge Volume


2) On a separate sheet of paper,

construct a scaled plan view, where the width of the window represents the width of the excavation. As such, the analysis will consider the largest block that could be released from the excavation roof. In this particular example, the roof is rectangular in shape, is 6 m wide, and has its long axis orientated at an azimuth of 025. Given that the great circle representing r pr nt ng th the h horizontal r z nta p plane an through the tunnel coincides with that of the stereonet projection, it is convenient to construct the window aligned parallel to the tunnel axis.

025

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Erik Eberhardt UBC Geological Engineering

EOSC 433 (2012)

Maximum Wedge Volume


3) On the scaled window, mark an

arbitrary horizontal reference line and starting point. For example, about halfway along the western margin of the roof. roof Inspection of the spherical triangle in the stereonet plot suggests that the corner of the face triangle formed by planes 2 and 3 will touch the western margin of the roof, and the corner formed by planes 1 and 2 will touch the eastern margin when the largest possible tetrahedral bl k i block is considered. id d

horizontal reference line

As such, the arbitrary reference point can represent the corner of the face triangle formed by planes 2 and 3.

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Erik Eberhardt UBC Geological Engineering

EOSC 433 (2012)

Maximum Wedge Volume


4)

The lines associated with planes 2 and 3 can now be added to the window construction by counting off the angles between the h i horizontal l reference f line li on the stereonet plot (at 025) and the diametral lines for planes 2 and 3 (striking at 085 and 129, respectively). These angles can then be transferred to the window construction and measured off relative to the starting point and reference line along the western margin of the roof. 60
2

60

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Erik Eberhardt UBC Geological Engineering

EOSC 433 (2012)

Maximum Wedge Volume


4)

The lines associated with planes 2 and 3 can now be added to the window construction by counting off the angles between the h i horizontal l reference f line li on the stereonet plot (at 025) and the diametral lines for planes 2 and 3 (striking at 085 and 129, respectively). These angles can then be transferred to the window construction and measured off relative to the starting point and reference line along the western margin of the roof.

104

104

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Erik Eberhardt UBC Geological Engineering

EOSC 433 (2012)

Maximum Wedge Volume


5)

The point where the line for plane 2 intersects the eastern margin of the roof in the window construction represents t th the corner of f the face triangle formed by planes 1 and 2. Thus, the line for plane 1 can be added by measuring the angle between the two planes on the stereonet and transferring it to the window construction. The h outline/trace l / of f the h wedge on the tunnel roof is now complete.

37

37
2

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Erik Eberhardt UBC Geological Engineering

EOSC 433 (2012)

Maximum Wedge Volume


6)

The next step is to add the corner edges of the wedge to complete the 3-D trace of f the h tetrahedron h d in i the h window construction box. This can be done following a similar procedure by transferring the lines of intersection between the planes (i.e. I12, I23, I13) and their measured angles from the stereonet to the window construction. apex

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Erik Eberhardt UBC Geological Engineering

EOSC 433 (2012)

Maximum Wedge Volume


7)

Since this construction can be completed graphically by overlaying the stereonet with the window construction, or geometrically by measuring the angles off the stereonet and transferring them onto the window construction, several checks can be made to find any errors that may have arisen. The final step involving the finding of the location of the wedges apex also gives a valuable check since the area of the triangle of error formed by these converging lines is a measure of any imprecision in the construction.

apex
Priest (1985) EOSC 433 (2012) EOSC 433 (2012) Priest (1985)

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Erik Eberhardt UBC Geological Engineering

Maximum Wedge Volume


8)

The dimensions of the face triangle appearing on the excavation surface can now be scaled off directly from the construction. Its area, Af, can be found by taking any pair of adjacent sides and their included angles:

This gives a face area of 10.1 m2.

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Erik Eberhardt UBC Geological Engineering

Maximum Wedge Volume


9)

The areas of the three internal block surfaces can be found in a similar way from the edge lengths and appropriate internal angles:

geometrical properties of a tetrahedral block.


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EOSC 433 (2012)

Maximum Wedge Volume


10) To find the volume of the wedge,

the wedge height and the face area are required. The face area, Af, has already been found. The wedge height h, height, h is given by:

which for this example problem comes to 1.47 m. The volume, V, of the tetrahedral block is then given as:
Priest (1985) EOSC 433 (2012)

resulting in a block volume of approximately 5 m3.

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Erik Eberhardt UBC Geological Engineering

Priest (1985)

Maximum Wedge Volume


11) Now assuming a unit weight of 25

kN/m3 for sedimentary rock, the block would have a weight of approximately 124 kN.

By dividing this value through by the face area, it can be seen that a support pressure of only 12.3 kN/m2, distributed over the face triangle, would be required to keep it in place. This support pressure could, for example, be provided by rock bolts anchored beyond the block at a distance of 2 to 3 m above the excavation roof.

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Erik Eberhardt UBC Geological Engineering

EOSC 433 (2012)

References
Hudson, JA & Harrison, JP (1997). Engineering Rock Mechanics An Introduction to the Principles . Elsevier Science: Oxford. Priest, SD (1985). Hemispherical Projection Methods in Rock Mechanics. George Allen & Unwin: London.

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Erik Eberhardt UBC Geological Engineering

EOSC 433 (2012)

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